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Red Sox Trade Rumors: Boston Wise to Shop Josh Beckett Before Jon Lester

BOSTON, MA - JULY 20:  Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox looks at the baseball after giving up two runs in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the game on July 20, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIJuly 30, 2012

The Boston Red Sox came into the 2012 MLB season thinking that Josh Beckett and Jon Lester would anchor a starting rotation that would be good enough to complement a high-powered offense.

Bobby Valentine and his coaching staff got the high-powered offense, but Becket and Lester have combined for a 10-17 record. The former has posted a 4.57 ERA in 108.1 innings, while the latter bears a stomach-churning ERA of 5.49 with 21 starts this season.

According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, the Red Sox are shopping Beckett but not Lester:

The Red Sox called the Braves to gauge their interest in Josh Beckett. They would have likely received a different response had they asked about Jon Lester.  But it does not appear Lester will be made available before Tuesday’s Trade Deadline.

Both starters undoubtedly have the lowest value of their respective careers.

The duo was involved in the "Boston Beer Party" late last season that saw the Red Sox collapse in the final month and fail to make the playoffs. That isn't so much a big deal as their abysmal seasons are, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that there aren't many prospects to be had for their services.

Despite his higher ERA, Lester will be worth more on the open market. He's younger, a more positive presence in the clubhouse and just a better talent at this stage in his career.

That doesn't mean it would be a good idea to give up on the two-time All-Star pitcher.

Beckett, on the other hand, has had a miserable few months in Boston. He got caught red-handed playing golf before he was scratched from a start, hasn't pitched well and the Boston fans are getting fed up with his issues.

Sorry, Red Sox fans, but your team isn't going to the playoffs this season. Barring some type of miracle that involves the Sox going on a tear and the teams ahead of them in the standings collapsing, a mediocre season is all but a foregone conclusion.

Lester is 28 years old—four years younger than Beckett. He is going to be a huge part of the team's future if they keep him around. This season is more of an anomaly than a trend for Lester, as something has been missing from the very beginning.

Things between the Sox and Beckett just aren't working out. That's not the case with Lester. There aren't many complaints against his attitude, and his teammates support him despite the bad outings.

The culture in the clubhouse won't change until Beckett is shipped elsewhere. He still has some talent, but the sting of last season's collapse won't ever truly go away until the Texan is sent on his way.

There isn't a more perfect time to make that happen than before the MLB trade deadline.

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